The goal of this project and system is to open up new possibilities in science and engineering by providing computational capability that makes it possible for investigators to tackle much larger and more complex research challenges across a wide spectrum of domains. Frontera replaces the NSF Blue Waters system, the first deployment in the National Science Foundation's petascale computing program. When deployed, Frontera will be one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world, and the fastest supercomputer on a university campus.

Early user access is expected to begin March 2019, with full system production anticipated in July 2019. These dates are subject to adjustment as the project proceeds.

Frontera is designed to provide approximately 40 PFLOPS of capability, significantly exceeding prior leadership-class computing investments made by NSF. The bulk of computation is provided Intel next-generation processors. The system also includes an accelerator-enabled partition that will enable machine learning and traditional science applications (such as Amber, NAMD, and Chroma) that can take advantage of general-purpose GPU-like accelerators using languages similar to OpenACC, OpenCL, or vendor-specific languages that offer similar functionality.

The design of Frontera will support the seamless transition of current NSF leadership-class computing applications to the new system, as well as enable new large-scale data-intensive and machine learning workloads that are expected in the future. Following deployment, the project will operate the system in partnership with ten academic partners. In addition, the project will begin planning activities in collaboration with leading computational scientists and technologists from around the country, and will leverage strategic public-private partnerships to design a leadership-class computing facility with at least ten times more performance capabilities for Science and Engineering research, ensuring the economic competitiveness and prosperity for our nation at large.

Frontera will include support for science and engineering in virtually all disciplines through its software environment support for application containers, as well as through its partnership with ten academic institutions providing deep computational science expertise in support of users on the system. The project planning effort for a Phase 2 system with at least 10x performance improvement will incorporate a community-driven process that will include leading computational scientists and technologists from around the country and leverage strategic public-private partnerships. This process will ensure the design of a future NSF leadership-class computing facility that incorporates the most productive near-term technologies, and anticipates the most likely future technological capabilities for all of science and engineering requiring leadership-class computational and data-analytics capabilities. Furthermore, the project is expected to develop new expertise and techniques for leadership-class computing and data-driven applications that will benefit future users worldwide through publications, training, and consulting. The project will leverage the team's unique approach to education, outreach, and training activities to encourage, educate, and develop the next generation of leadership-class computational science researchers. The team includes leaders in campus bridging, minority-serving institute (MSI) outreach, and data technologies who will oversee efforts to use Frontera to increase the diversity of groups using leadership-class computing for traditional and data-driven applications.

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Dan Stanzione